Incoming GOP congresswoman says virus safety efforts are somehow 'starving' people

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Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene is upset that grocery stores with COVID-19 outbreaks had to close.

Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) slammed Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for closing several grocery stores in the state that were experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks among staff.

"Democrat @GovMLG starving the women and children of New Mexico," Greene tweeted about Grisham Tuesday night. "A very Stalinist approach ..."

Greene, a frequent coronavirus conspiracy theorist, has previously complained about Washington, D.C., businesses being shuttered for precautionary reasons, as well as characterized the wearing of face masks as "oppressive."

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She's also an infamous supporter of QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that maintains that a secret cabal of child-abusing Democrats run America, and has a long history of racist and antisemitic views.

Arizona Republican state Sen.-elect Wendy Rogers also blasted the New Mexico governor on Twitter Wednesday for the order.

"Patriots, we may need to be ready to provide food for New Mexico because their governor is a tyrant," Rogers tweeted. "Liberals always make things worse! Horrible!"

Grisham's decision to close about a dozen New Mexico grocery stores has come under fire from far-right news outlets like The Washington Examiner and Breitbart this week. But GOP lawmakers like Greene and Rogers are playing fast and loose with the facts and distorting the scope of the order, as well as Grisham's motivations.

Grisham did indeed issue a public order closing about two dozen essential businesses statewide for a two-week period. But these businesses were those at the center of COVID-19 outbreaks — stores that had more than four employees testing positive in a two-week period.

About half of these businesses appear to be grocery stores, mainly big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and Sam's Club. The grocery stores are reportedly located in only seven or eight New Mexico cities, and in only one of those cities (Santa Fe) does the governor's order appear to affect more than two grocery stores.

Moreover, Grisham's decision to close these stores was neither capricious nor "Stalinist."

New Mexico's coronavirus cases are soaring, according to a Tuesday release from the governor's office.

As of Tuesday, the state had seen 2,107 new cases, bringing the total number of cases up to more than 86,000 statewide. And, with 28 additional COVID deaths, the death toll in New Mexico has reached 1,428 total — with a record-breaking 871 current hospitalizations.

"You can't have a grocery store or another big box store that sells groceries if all of the employees or the vast majority of them have COVID. You can’t open up," Grisham explained.  "And that's the issue. … There's so much of this infection that it’s inside the very places people need to access."

A spokesperson for Grisham told a local news outlet that false claims about the store closures were simply "politically motivated," describing them as "Republican talking point(s)."

When asked by the outlet if the governor would potentially reverse course on the matter, the spokesperson responded, "The state is not forcing anyone to stand in a crowded line, as you suggest."

Attacks on Grisham by right-wing outlets and Republican lawmakers coincide with media reports that the New Mexico governor is a top contender for President-elect Joe Biden's health secretary.

According to Politico, Grisham, who is co-chair of Biden's transition, is favored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to helm the Department of Health and Human Services.

"When we think about someone who's a manager and a leader who knows these issues, Michelle is top of the list," said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA).

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.